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Not So Sweet – The Average American Consumes 150-170 Pounds of Sugar Each Year
Tipping the sugar balance
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the the average American consumes anywhere between 150 to 170 pounds of simple sugars, also called refined sugars (this includes glucose, fructose and sucrose) or simple carbohydrates, in one year!
You may be thinking, “I don’t use that much. Well, it is also said that for every American who only eats 5 pounds of sugar per year, there is one who eats around 295 pounds per year. That is to say A LOT of sugar – especially when compared to how much we have consumed in the past. Less than 100 years ago, average sugar consumption was alone about 4 pounds per person per year.
Can’t figure out how much sugar is 150-170 pounds? Here’s a visual: imagine 30 to 34 five-pound bags of sugar lined up next to each other on a counter. Now imagine a person, maybe yourself, eating all that sugar. To break it down even further, eating 150 to 170 pounds of sugar in a year is also equivalent to consuming 1/4 to 1/2 pound of sugar. every day. Don’t you think consuming this amount of sugar is easy to achieve? Think again…here are some more numbers:
Sugar, soda and math
There are 120 teaspoons in a pound of sugar. This means that 1/4 pound of sugar equals 30 teaspoons and 1/2 pound of sugar equals 60 teaspoons. An average 12-ounce can of soda contains about 8 ounces of simple sugar. This means that just four 12-ounce cans of soda will equal 1/4 pound of sugar! For some people, drinking this amount of soda in a day is not a difficult task.
This only calculates the amount of sugar found in a soda. Just think of the other sources of sugar in our diet. Americans consume refined sugars in many forms – there are the obvious sugary culprits – donuts, cookies, cakes and ice cream. However, sugar is hidden in much of what we consume every day. Sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup can also be found in salad dressings, breads, hot dogs, peanut butter, pickles, canned fruits and vegetables, ketchup, soups cans, crackers, cookies and many other food products.
It’s not just a drug, it’s also a poison
Some classify refined sugar as a drug or poison because it is depleted of its vital forces, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Too much can be harmful to the body and cause disease. We’ve all heard of the dangers of consuming too much sugar in our diets – it can lead to organ dysfunction and hormonal disruption. When these systems are disrupted and out of balance, several other pathological conditions manifest: allergies, obesity, degenerative/organ diseases, diabetes, depression, behavioral problems, etc.
If you are sick several times during the year, you may want to watch your sugar intake
What is the link between eating sugar and being sick? Excessive consumption of sugar lowers your body’s immunity. Studies have shown that consuming 75 to 100 grams of simple sugars (about 20 teaspoons of sugar – the amount found in two average 12-ounce cans of soda) can significantly suppress the body’s immune responses. These sugars are known to create a 40-50% drop in the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria and germs in the body. The immunosuppressive effect of sugar begins less than thirty minutes after ingestion and can last for five hours. By consuming 150-170 pounds of simple sugars each year, a person can have up to 80,000 hours of immunosuppression!
With the average American consuming 150-170 pounds of sugar per year, I’m not surprised to learn that approximately 60% of the American population is currently overweight or obese. There are obviously other factors that play into this stat, but I’m pretty sure our sugar intake has a lot to do with it. I don’t know about you, but to me it makes sugar “not so sweet” after all…
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